The American Independent: Republicans may “examine” death penalty, Racial Justice Act in next session

“Republicans in the General Assembly have never been supporters of the North Carolina Racial Justice Act, which allows inmates on death row to challenge their sentences if they can prove racial bias. The law allows that, if a judge determines through statistical evidence that race played a role in sentencing, an inmate’s death sentence can be changed to life in prison without possibility of parole.”

“Republicans were making the argument that … because they passed this Racial Justice Act, people can challenge their death penalty sentences and they can get out of prison,” he told the group. “And the Democrats said that is just a blatant lie, that is just not what the legislation says: ‘The legislation says if they get off death row they have to be commuted to life in prison without parole.’”

Woodhouse told the group that between 33 and 39 inmates on death row were sent there before the 1994 Truth in Sentencing Act, when the penalty for capital crimes was 20 years to life with the possibility of parole. “If any of those 35 [inmates] change or challenge their stuff under Racial Justice Act and are taken off death row, they are eligible for parole,” he said. “That is the law as it was at the time.

“So the Republicans did a horrible job having their facts right and explaining themselves.”

Speaking to the NC Independent, Woodhouse said, “The death penalty, whether they have it or not, is not really an [Americans for Prosperity] issue. It’s not something we’ll be advocating for either way.”

But when asked if the Racial Justice Act could be amended, Woodhouse replied, “It is my anticipation that there will be full examination of crime and punishment, including the death penalty, in the next legislative session.”

Woodhouse reiterated that he believed death row inmates could be paroled through the Racial Justice Act. “I can promise you that their lawyers are going be arguing for parole based on the old [pre-1994] sentencing guidelines,” he said.”

Full article here: Republicans may “examine” death penalty, Racial Justice Act in next session

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